April 2022, Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney
The Female Pope is a hybrid persona inspired by the 10th century Pope Joan and The Hindu Goddess Kali. It an example of pure frisson of “tradition transgressed”, when the power of the image emanates a sense of bodily blasphemy, yet, by situating herself in the classical framework of costume and style, Rakini Devi attempts to align notions of sacred and secular. The formal setting of the “enthroned” female pope in her work is aesthetically disruptive of tradition, and colonial frameworks.
For Monumental, Rakini Devi presented 2 three-hour durational performances of the Female Pope over two days in the main foyer of the AGNSW as part of a program featuring 15 artists from diverse practices, curated by Latai Taumoepeau and Brian Fuata, produced by Intimate spectacle.
The Female Pope is an on-going performance installation that continues to evolve with each presentation, inspired by the architecture and environment of the work, and was performed in the following locations:
2010 Friction International Live Art Festival Uppsala Cathedral, Sweden & Uppsala Art Museum, Sweden.
2010 Art Contact Helsinki, Finland.
2013 Performance Space, Carriageworks foyer, Sydney, Australia.
2014 The Grey Zone Artspace, New York.
2014 Ex-Teresa de Arte Actual Mexico City, Mexico.
2022 Art Gallery of NSW for Monumental, The Female Pope version #6.
All images ©AGNSW
MONUMENTAL (working title) is presented by Art Gallery of NSW, produced with Intimate Spectacle, and supported by City of Sydney through the CBD Activation program, and AGNSW’s support partner Atelier.